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The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia
District in the north of Africa. The name "Libya" was often used by the ancients, sometimes to designate the whole of northern Africa (with the exception of Egypt), sometimes to denote a single province west of Egypt. According to Josephus ("Ant." 1:6, Â§ 2), Libya was founded by Phut (comp. Genesis 10:6), and the eponymous hero Libys was a son of Mesraios, e., of Egypt. Another old tradition says that Eofres (e., Epher; Genesis 25:4) conquered Libya and that the land was called "Africa" after him (Josephus, c. 1:15; comp. Eusebius, "PrÃ¦paratio Evangelica," 9:20, Â§ 2; "Chronicon Paschale," 1:66; Suidas, s. á¼ÏÏÎ¿Î¹; "Yuá¸¥asin," ed. London, p. 233).
The Biblical data are more historical. Shishak (Shoshank), whose name is claimed to be Libyan, had Libyans in his army (A. V. "Lubims," 2 Chronicles 12:3); King Asa defeated a whole army of Cushites and Libyans (ib. 16:8; comp. 14:11); and the celebrated Egyptian Thebes also had Libyans in its pay (Nahum 3:9). In all these passages the Septuagint has ÎÎ¯Î²Ï ÎµÏ. In Daniel 11:43, Egyptians, Libyans, and Cushites appear together.
In the Greco-Roman period Libya coincided approximately with Cyrene and the territory belonging to it. Jews lived there ("Ant." 16:6, Â§ 1); and Augustus granted them certain privileges through Flavius, the governor of the province (ib. Â§ 5). The Christian apostles also prepared themselves to extend their mission into Libya (Acts 2:10). The great Jewish war of the year 70 had its aftermath in Libya; and the rebellious Jonathan was denounced to the governor of the Libyan Pentapolis (Josephus, "B. J." 7:11, Â§ 1). The Jews of Libya also took part in the rebellion under Trajan and Hadrian (see CYRENE).
Modern investigation is inclined to connect Lehabim (Genesis 10:13; 1 Chronicles 1:11) with the Libyans, as did the Jerusalem Targum in rendering it by the Greek ÎÎ¹Î²Ï ÎºÎ¿Î¯. Many proselytes came from Libya (Yer. Shab. 7b; Yer. Kil. 31c); hence Judaism must have carried on its propaganda there. The Rabbis mention beans (LÃ¶w, "AramÃ¤ische Pflanzennamen," p. 234) and asses from Libya (Bek. 5b; Shab. 51b).
The once flourishing province corresponds to the present Barka, which, under Islamic dominion, has become a desert.
- Knobel, Die VÃ¶lkertafel der Genesis, pp. 282, 295-305, Giessen, 1850;
- Boettger, Topographisch-Historisches Lexicon zu den Schriften des Flavius Josephus, p. 163;
- Kohut, Aruch Completum, 5:5.
These files are public domain.
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Libya'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/l/libya.html. 1901.
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